Design Safari

The task is to go out and take photographs of ads and signs etc that illustrate one of the 10 concepts; colour, typography, metaphors/symbols, minimalism and use of space, form, balance, rhythm, proportion, dominance and unity. To begin with I made time to look through each element within the assignment document to gain more knowledge and understanding of them. This really helped as it gave me some ideas of what to look out for when I carry out the design safari. After taking some time to look through the different images other students had taken, I felt ready to try it out for myself. I decided to take photographs around campus as this was a location close to wear I live and work with a vast amount of posters and advertisements dotted around buildings. I thought this assignment was going to be quite hard as the elements are very specific but I found myself coming across designs quite easily, although I only managed to get 3 in the time of space I went out to look for subjects to take photographs of. DS106 ask us to complete 4, so I will try and go back out and find another if I manage to do so. The first photograph I found was of the element of colour. It was a sign for FOTAC, a department within the university.


The design of this is heavily based on colour and relies on this element to make it stand out to those around it. The use of this element is very effective as it has caught my eye several times when I have walked past it, but a major fault in the design in my opinion is the light colour of yellow that the letter ‘O’ is in. It is very faint and slightly ruins part of the design. Next, I found a sign relating to the element of typography. 


As you can see, the design of this poster is solidly based on text. The bold block capitals sends out a strong yet simple message that certainly does the trick. This suits the style of the purpose of the poster as it advertises locking up bikes to prevent crime, so the block capitals highlights that this is a serious warning that needs to be paid attention to. This shows that the design of the poster is based on the concept of typography. Lastly, I found a design that relates to the element of minmalism.


Within the design of this poster which is advertising the national student survey for De Montfort University, they use huge speech bubbles taking up the majority of the space and then the text is placed in the far top corner far away from the main images used within the poster. The way the text has been pushed into this small amount of space shows this element of minimalism and use of space. I believe they would do this so that the colours of the speech bubbles would attract viewers attention and then make them look for what the poster is advertising, drawing their attention to the text. I think it is a very effective design and does it’s job well and uses this concept of minimalism in the correct way.


Visual Assignments

I am going to work through some visual assignments for Unit 5 and get up to a ranking of 10 stars!

The first one I attempted was a task called ‘Splash the Colour’. The aim is to take a photograph and highlight a colour that stands out and make the rest of the image black and white. I spent some time thinking about what photograph to use and remembered the photograph I took for the previous task of the blue door. I could have gone out and taken a new photograph but I think this one works perfectly. I was still using the same editing skills as I would have using a new photograph so I think this is acceptable and will work fine. I imported the photograph into Photoshop, and using the lasso tool, I carefully went around the outside of the whole door separating it from the rest of the photograph. I then inversed the selection and and went to ‘image’,’adjustments’, then ‘black and white’. This made the whole photograph apart from the door black and white whilst maintaining the door blue. I also adjusted the contrast to make the blue stand out even more to make the photograph even more aesthetically pleasing. I did really enjoy this task, it was definitely within my element and something I am very comfortable doing. I like using Photoshop and enjoy editing photographs on the program. Even though the task didn’t particularly challenge me, it just helped to improve my editing skills further and allowed me to put these into practice which I found really beneficial. This is something I enjoy about ds106 as well as learning new things. It’s also all about putting our creativity into practice even if we are already familiar with the skills we are using. I’m glad I used my previously taken photograph for this task as I think it works really well with the style of the editing applied.


As the Unit is all about photography, I do have some skill set in all the tasks provided but I chose a CD album cover visual assignment as I haven’t edited in this style before so I wanted to give it a shot. DS106 provide links that randomly pick aspects of the CD cover for you. For example, a wikipedia randomiser link is provided where the name of the article will be the name of the band, followed by a quotation link where the last 5 or so words of the quote will be the name of the album, and then a Flickr link where the third photograph on the page will be the album photograph. All of these together will make the album cover which I can freely edit as I please. The wikipedia link gave me an article on Jonathan Tabu, then the end of the quote consisted of the words ‘without that understanding, they will fail’, and then a photograph of a city was provided within the Flickr link. This was what I was given to make my CD cover. I cropped the photograph in Photoshop to make it square to stick with the style of a CD album. I then chose some text that I thought complimented the photograph and ended up with this result;

cd cover

This task took me about 15 minutes to complete, which was about the right amount of time to spend on this task I believe. It wasn’t overly challenging, but I did try to pick a task that wouldn’t be too simple to complete. It seems that all of the visual assignments are fairly simple to complete, which is probably why DS106 encourage students to complete at least 10 stars. This task was again a 3 star task, now taking me up to a total of 6 stars. I can’t say that I learnt much from this assignment as it ended up just involving very basic Photoshop skills that I could pick up quite easily, but like a lot of assignments within DS106, it helped bring out some creativity and to put my creativity into practice.

The next task I attempted for the visual assignment is called ‘Blackmail’, which involves taking a photograph of a subject and editing it so it is not recognisable anymore. This means importing the photograph into Photoshop and editing the lighting etc to manipulate it to achieve this effect. DS106 say that if the person you show it to can’t tell what it is, then you have successfully completed the task. I looked around my room and found an owl lantern that I have hanging on my wall. This object is quite interesting and artistic so I decided this would be something good to complete the task with but also simple enough so that the subject alone can be focused on without any other distractions in the background. I then uploaded it onto my mac and imported this into Photoshop. I used the motion blur tool underneath filters to distort the image to help disguise the subject. I then adjusted the saturation by increasing it to completely change the colours. This is how the photograph turned out;


I asked a few of my housemates what they thought the photograph was of, and they couldn’t guess. I didn’t want to manipulate the photograph so much that it was just one massive blur, I still wanted to maintain a bit of detail and shape of the subject within it. Once again, by having quite a lot of experience within photography and Photoshop editing, this task wasn’t too challenging and only took a short amount of time but I really did enjoy this one. The idea of taking a photograph but for the purpose of manipulating it to make something completely different is quite an interesting concept that I enjoyed carrying out. This was a different kind of creativity that I haven’t actually ever tried to do before, all of my photographs and editing I have previously done have been for the purpose to look good, otherwise this was for quite the opposite reasons. What I like about these visual assignments is that they are all completely different so you don’t find yourself repeating similar outcomes. Even though they all involved photography and editing, the purpose is always different. This task was worth 2 stars, now putting me at a total of 8 stars.

For my very last visual assignment I chose a task that involves typing a few words into the Google search engine and choosing a weird sentence that comes from those words and then making an image that represents this. DS106 suggest trying ‘I hate’, or ‘I love’, so I went with ‘I hate it when’. Some very interesting sentences came up and one that really grabbed my attention… ‘I hate it when Jesus rides dinosaurs’. This is a very random sentence that doesn’t really make any sense but as soon as I saw it I knew I could edit a photograph that would symbolise the sentence. So I immediately found some images online and edited them together on Photoshop and ended up with this result;


I simply used the magnetic lasso tool to cut around the shape of figure of Jesus, and dragged it over to the dinosaur image and it went together very easily. I then got a screenshot of the sentence from the Google search engine to place on top so that the image kind of makes sense in some way. Again, this visual assignment is very different to all the other ones I have completed. When I found it I thought it could be a fun and creative one to attempt and that’s exactly what it was! I enjoyed the editing process and also enjoyed the extremely random concept of it. The sentences that come up on Google are all completely different and some are very strange, I picked this particular one because it was just so bizarre but would make an interesting image. This task consisted of 2 and a half stars, making my total 10 and a half stars therefore completing the whole assignment! Overall the assignment was really fun and I enjoyed the huge mixture visual assignments available to complete. It really enabled me to explore more creativity within photo editing and using my imagination to successfully complete them.

Unit 5 Daily Creates!

1. Tree art!

Today I found a daily create that involved taking a picture of a tree and editing it in a way that makes tree art, from making a scary monster design or a pretty pattern. I immediately went outside with my camera and found a tree that made a nice silhouette shape as the sun shone behind it. I simple imported this into Photoshop and this was my result!

Tree Art

I wanted to go for a photograph that was pleasant to look at. I duplicated the layer and flipped it upside down. I then changed the opacity and played around with some filters to gain the pinky effect! Overall I am pleased with my daily create and think it worked quite well!

Unit 4 Daily Creates!

1. Save Noddy!

This daily create is basically based on photoshop’ing a photograph of Noddy in a dustbin. I took this photograph and really thought about what I could do that would be a little bit creative. I looked at other students edits and tried not to do something that I had already seen someone do, so this is what I came up with!

stock-footage-claw-machine-photo-prop-built-specifically-for-video-and-stills-seven-variations-of-operation copy

It isn’t the best edited picture I have ever created but it is just for fun! It only took me about 5 minutes to make altogether but after thinking of the idea and gathering images, the task took me about 15 minutes.


Now that I have moved on to Unit 5 within DS106, the new subject area is photography. I was quite relieved when I saw this as this is actually my most preferred area of media in which I am most comfortable in too. DS106 has asked me to complete a task called ‘photoblitzing’, where I have just 15 minutes to capture as many photos on their list as I can within 1 place that I choose to go. The list is as follows;

In the next 15 minutes, try to capture as many of the following photos as you can

  • Make an ordinary object look more interesting, almost supernatural.
  • Take a photo that makes use of converging lines.
  • Take a photo dominated by a single color
  • Take a photo of something at an unusual angle
  • Take a photo of two things that do not belong together.
  • Take a photo that represents the idea of “openness”
  • Take a photo that expresses a human emotion
  • Take a photo that emphasizes mostly dark tones or mostly light ones.
  • Make a photo that is abstract, that would make someone ask, “Is that a photograph?”
  • Take a photo of an interesting shadow.
  • Take a photo that represents a metaphor for complexity.
  • Take a photo of someone else’s hand (or paw)

I also had to take a photo of the time I started, and the time I had finished to prove I did it within the 15 minute slot. This was quite a fun task, and also challenging, as that is a rather long list! It does state though, that of course we don’t have to capture every photograph, 15 minutes isn’t a huge amount of time. But I did manage to get some of them, and here is what I got!

Start time:


Converging lines:


Dominated by a single colour:


An unusual angle:




Light tones:


Interesting shadow:


Someone else’s hand:


End time:


I chose to take this photographs outside on my street in Leicester. This is because it was very close to my home as well as a place I could easily walk up and down searching for different photograph opportunities in a familiar area. I found the experience quite fun. I like photography anyway so it was a pleasant task to carry out. What I found strange was that I’m not used to having to take a number of photographs within such a short amount of time. I am very used to setting up photo shoots, rather than having to do one on the spot. So this was very new to me but that is also what I enjoyed about the experience. I was also very lucky with the weather, getting to complete it on a sunny day made it all the more enjoyable!

When it comes to what photographs worked best for me, I liked the way the one with the blue door turned out. Straight away it grabbed my attention and I knew it was perfect for that photograph theme. I like the way the blue takes all the attention away from the rest of the photo and I am happy with how it turned out considering how fast I had to take it without being able to take my time. I also liked the one of the tree, where you can just about see the sun trying to shine through. It creates a nice silhouette and I believe it suited this subject nicely of ‘openness’ because of the big blue sky behind it. My most inventive photograph is probably the one I took looking into the puddle. Even though the quality isn’t great, it was something that just sprung to mind very suddenly. Noticing something on the floor rather than looking up and around at everything, I think was quite unusual and I’m glad that I found that opportunity.

You can also find my favourite 5 photographs on my Flickr at

From looking at other peoples work on the ds106photoblitz hashtag, there were two photographs that really stood out to me. After giving feedback to other students and really having a lot through the feed, these were the ones I chose to be the best I saw:

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 14.13.17 Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 14.21.38

I love the depth of field used in both of these photographs. It also helps that I also absolutely love photography in the snow, it is amazing what come cameras can catch from the different snowflakes as well as the ice in the photographs.

DS106 Radio

I went onto the Ds106 Radio page where I simply began to just listen to what was being said. I had found myself listening to some sort of story about family holidays. It was a bunch of pre-recorded audio of different people talking about going on a family holiday, most complaining about it. From mums complaining about their children not wanting to spend any quality family time together, to children complaining about parents dragging them away, and then dads complaining about being dragged out by their wife. It was very strange. I did not really understand the point of this part of the show and why I was listening to it. It was not really made clear why this was being broadcasted. I listened to this strange collection of audio recordings for about 10 minutes. But I soon had to turn it off.

1. Because I found the voices a little creepy which made me feel uneasy.

2. I had no interest in this whatsoever.

3. I did not understand the point in what I was listening to and how this was entertaining in anyway.

At this point I decided to just turn it off and go back to it later in the day. So that’s what I did. When I went back to DS106 radio they were discussing the matter of where our stuff is safe online. Such as our own websites etc. They mention that somewhere like WordPress is actually a place that is probably safer than owning your own web domain. What I like about it also is that they share their own opinions as well as also asking those of the audience by getting listeners to interact with them. They mention that your things online are much likely to get noticed if you’re uploading to social medias such as Instagram, as users on sites like these are always looking on feeds. But if you were to upload a photo a day to a new blog, you are not likely to get any views for a while, or just very few. This is a really interesting point, that grabbed my attention. This subject has got me much more interested than my first experience. This is because this related to what I actually do. I have many social media accounts such as Twitter and Instagram, and I also have a WordPress blog… obviously. And the things I upload get noticed far more on sites like Instagram where I get multiple ‘likes’ on my posts. Otherwise, on WordPress, I barely get any views at all, only the odd few.

What I also enjoyed more about this part of the show is the way they use two presenters discussing different matters, so with multiple opinions being thrown around which makes the show far more interesting to listen to. Whilst I was listening, I looked up how many listeners the show currently had, and it said 1, which I’m guessing was me. This came as a surprise, I wondered why there weren’t anymore people listening to the show, but maybe it just isn’t as popular as I had assumed.

Listening to Stories

At this point in the course, ds106 gets us to start listening to stories, and think about the effects sound has on a story. I listened to ‘This American Life, Episode 504: How I got into College’. I used a simple technique of listening to the audio and stopping and starting it as I found interesting points to jot down in my notepad. I found this to be a useful technique that worked best for me instead of switching between screens on the computer.

So to begin with, This American Life introduces the show with just voice audio but music soon begins to play as a music bed but can only be heard very faintly, probably so the audience can very clearly hear the presenters. Being the beginning of the show, it seems that they try to keep any other sounds quiet for the time being. They also use a mixture of vox pops at the beginning of their show. They share a mixture of responses from different people which also sounds very natural. A lot of background noise can be heard but this just sets the scene which I don’t believe is necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it’s good to have a natural sounding vox pop so the audience can identify that these are real people with real responses, not set up. They also then use music which is a lot clearer than the introduction piece. This gives the show a nice beat and it also breaks up the speech. This gives the audience a break from solid speech which will keep them interested instead of becoming bored of just words being spoken at them.

There appears to be a lot of questions or introductions from the main presenters which follows by pre-recorded or live interviews/vox pops of guests. This gives the story a realistic feel to it. There is a lot of plain simple audio with no music bed beneath these sections, which allows the audience to focus on that speech. Maybe this indicates that this is important speech that should be focused on by the listener.

When they move away from guest speakers, and start to tell the main story of the program, light soft music starts which is almost to identify this. That we are moving into the story. I have noticed that when music begins, it’s probably done so that it keeps the audiences focus when a story is being told for a while where listeners may end up losing concentration. They choose music that fits in with what is actually happening within the speech. They begin to talk about refugees in Croatia when the characters hitched a ride with some women. Here, they use a spanish style of music to go with the scene. This sets the scene for the audience which is a very good tactic to both keep attention and also help to build the story they are telling.

it is obvious that the show likes to use different kinds of music to keep the story going and to set the scene for the audience.

The episode itself ends with some instrumental music and then a song, just as a standard radio show would end a section of the show with a song from the charts.

Audio Storytelling

To begin Unit 4, I have watched two videos of Ira Grass’ series on storytelling, and picking out ‘nuggets’ that stand out to me. Within the first video Ira describes that we shouldn’t think of storytelling like we were taught at school, but that there are just ‘two basic building blocks’, one being the anecdote. A short but interesting or amusing story where there are stages in a story where one thing leads to the next, and to the next, and so on. There needs to be a momentum, so that even if the story is dull, it should feel like theres suspense and that the listener feels like something is going to happen. This also makes the listener want to listen. The other part of the anecdote is that it has to be raising a question from the beginning, a constant beat of raising questions and then being answered along the way which will also keep the listener engaged. The second building block is to have a moment of reflection. At some point, it has to be explained what the point of the story is, there has to be something at the end that has a meaning or purpose. If it’s a good story, it will bounce between these two building blocks.

His second video is about finding a good story. He mentions that finding the perfect story usually takes longer than actually going out and making it and how important it is to give yourself the same amount of time to come up with and find a story as you would to shoot it and make it. Something that really stood out to me within this second video is the way he explains that not all stories you go out to find will be as interesting as you thought it was going to be, such as a story you wanted to put on your radio show, so you have to be ruthless with that story and cut out all of the rubbish that might bore listeners, and to just have the interesting and heart felt parts that will make the story sound as interesting as you wanted it to be from the beginning. Not all stories will work out how you wanted them to, so he explains that you have to work with that and make it back into what you wanted. He also goes onto say that a huge part of success is failure, and that people will fail many times before they succeed, which just means that you’re doing it right. Ira also goes on to say that it is also a lot about luck, and sometimes it’s just about stumbling across something special, and until then there will be a lot of ‘crap’ that has to be gotten rid of first.

I then went on to looking at Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad: How radio creates empathy. He begins by describing the way with radio, we don’t have images to create a picture when something is being described. He makes this point that it’s like he is painting a picture for the listener but he’s not holding the paintbrush, you as the listener is. I really like that sentence he uses to describe how audio storytelling works that it takes two to cooperate together to make the story. He talks about the connection people have through radio, and how much he loves that about radio and believes it has something to do with this ‘co-imagining’, another word I really like.

Telling Stories with Photos

This activity was quite interesting, in the way you had no control of what photos were going to be randomly given on Flickr, then only choosing 1 out of 5 at a time to make up a 5 photograph story. This was challenging in the way that linking random photographs to make some kind of sense in a story is quite a hard thing to achieve. As I worked my way through choosing the photographs, I ended up coming up with a theme of flowers and patterns seen in the street on in the environment, and plucking inspiration from this to then lead to a tattoo design, where the story ends at the tattoo studio. Here are the photographs:






A few Daily Creates during Unit 3!

Daily Creates

1. My first daily create within Unit 3 was a task set to photograph every colour of the rainbow by looking for objects around one room. So I stayed within my own living room and managed to get every colour! This was quite a fun challenge where I tried to capture different objects, with a nice bright colour. I think put them together in a small collage to present the colours I found.


2. On the 25th December, a Daily Create was assigned specifically for Christmas Day. This was to share a photograph that made this day unique. To me, Christmas Day is all about the bringing together of family, and enjoying that. In this day and age, it is slightly rare now to find ourselves spending quality family time together, which is a huge shame. It is not often when I am at home that my family make the effort to make an amazing meal and all gather around the table to spend it with each other. The effort to do this just isn’t really made anymore, so for me, what makes this day unique, is the part where we all sit together for dinner and just simply enjoy each other’s company.